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Posted By Fair Cadora, APC

Due to the difficulty of calculating incomes, necessary expenses, and various costs of each spouse after a divorce, many divorces actually end without establishing child support payments. Only later when it becomes clear that the primary custodial parent needs financial assistance from their ex-spouse does child support come fully into view. This can lead to the question of back child support, or child support payments the receiving spouse would have obtained had child support been calculated and established the moment the divorce was filed or finalized. In many cases, the spouse who ends up paying child support will not feel obligated to pay back child support, so what can be done to collect it?

Family law courts require the following before approving of back child support payments:

  1. Retroactive Support: A court cannot order back support (retroactive support) to any period before the filing of a petition or request for support.

  2. Proof of Paternity: In cases where the noncustodial parent is the father and the parties were never married, the court will also have to see proof of paternity before approving of retroactive child support. Paternity can be established by either the child being born during marriage and the running of the statute of limitations, the father's signing of a voluntary declaration of paternity or a DNA test.

  3. Support Arrears: A party must file a request for the judicial determination of arrears to obtain a judgment on the amount of arrears owed.  

In addition to these legalities involving back child support payments, you will need to be prepared to show accurately how much was paid over the retroactive or arrears period. Using bills, receipts, necessary transactions, medical costs, and other such evidence from that time period is crucial. Try not to miss anything important, for if the back child support is approved for a certain time period, it is unlikely you will get another shot to collect more later on.  Also, NEVER PAY CASH FOR CHILD SUPPORT because there is no record the payment was ever paid. 

For the legal guidance and representation you might need in such a case, you can turn to Fair Cadora and our San Diego family law lawyers. People throughout Southern California know they can depend on our law firm when they need a compassionate attorney on their side through family law disputes and some of life’s most difficult challenges. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Posted By Fair Cadora, APC

About to begin a divorce, or already in the thick of one? Everything you do is just as important as all the things you do not do. Make one big mistake and your chances of upholding your best interests before the family law court could be diminished significantly.

Check out this list of seven divorce mistakes parties commonly make, and be sure to avoid them:

  1. Leaving Wills & Trusts Untouched: One of the most common mistakes and possibly one of the absolute worst to make is not changing your wills or trusts after your divorce. Just because you are divorced doesn't’t mean your ex-spouse automatically loses rights to what you have set aside in your will for them. Forget to change it, pass away, and your ex-spouse could be getting a portion of your estate that you really wanted to go to your family or new spouse.

  2. Insisting on Fighting: Divorces are represented in all forms of entertainment media as big legal battles between two spouses. With a collaborative approach or one that uses a form of mediation, you and your spouse could potentially side-step the worst fights and find an amicable solution. Before you dive into your divorce, talk to one of our attorneys about these alternatives to see if they could work for your case.

  3. Involving your Children: It is crucial for everyone’s happiness that you keep your kids out of your divorce as much as possible. Telling them too much of the details can stress them out. Trying to make them side with you and not your spouse on day-to-day issues can be damaging, and the court might see it as you trying to create parental alienation; in such a case, you could be penalized, perhaps by rewarding more custody to your spouse.

  4. Waiting for the Holidays to End: So many married couples intentionally wait for the holiday season to pass before filing for divorce since they are afraid of spoiling the spirit. All this really does is keep them in an unhappy marriage for that much longer, which increases the chances of the divorce becoming contested especially if adultery is involved not to mention added holiday alcohol that can turn a bad situation worse. The calendar should not dictate when you decide to file for divorce.

  5. Forgetting about Property Taxes: The court will probably want to temporarily award the family home to whichever spouse gets primary child custody to maintain the children's routine. This looks like a huge victory on the surface but it can be big financial trouble when you consider property taxes, mortgages, and the cost of maintaining a typical home. If it looks like you are going to win the home but don’t think you can afford it, consider alternatives, like selling it for profit and keeping the majority.

  6. Intentionally Increasing Debt: Sometimes spouses make the enormous mistake of thinking they are free to spend as they want just before a divorce and it won’t matter to them; they either think the debt is going to spill onto the main breadwinner or that it will somehow disappear due to the complexities of divorce. Neither is likely to be true. Debt is divided just like property (equally), but debt that was amassed by one person a brief period of time before a divorce is filed could be dropped onto their lap alone if it was done intentionally.

  7. Settling Fast: It is a considerable relief to put your divorce behind you, but you should not rush to get to the end. Forcing yourself to settle for the first draft of your divorce agreement just to speed things up can sell yourself short in so many ways, it is not worth it. Review the stipulations of your divorce thoroughly with one of our attorneys to avoid regret years down the line.

Contact our San Diego divorce lawyers from Fair Cadora when you need help managing your divorce. We can provide both legal guidance and moral support that keeps your objectives and needs in the center of the entire process. Be sure to ask about how you can get a free initial consultation with our staff.

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